Authorities develop cold feet
the ban on 20-year-old commercial heavy vehicles in Bangalore, which came into effect on January 1, 2003, has been deferred by six months.
The Karnataka government maintains that the step was taken to give respite to truck owners whose financial condition is precarious. But the state authorities appear to have buckled under pressure in the wake of strong protests by the Lorry Owners Association. There are, however, a few issues such as the postponement period on which the government has not relented.
While truck owners were demanding that the ban be put off for two years, the state has agreed to give them a six-month breather. The vehicle owners' demand of changing the criteria of the ban was also ignored by the authorities. They had wanted the government to make emission testing norms and quality of vehicles -- not age -- the basis for the ban. However, the government rejected the plea on the ground that old vehicles had been overused and their technology was outdated.
Earlier, the decision to ban the entry of commercial vehicles was taken by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board in view of the increasing pollution levels in Bangalore. The directive also includes the phase-out of vehicles that are more than 15 years old within the next year. The ban is limited to commercial heavy vehicles and is not applicable to private ones. The government had approved this ban in November 2002. "To ensure successful implementation of the order, we had identified around 8,000 vehicles registered in Bangalore and notified the owners," says Karnataka's transport commissioner Thimme Gowda.
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